Persuasion and Influence for Manufacturing Business Development

February 02, 2019 / By Bruce McDuffee

If you're going to prosper in the coming years, your manufacturing business development team needs your customers, prospects, vendors, and peers to say "yes" more often than "no." Achieving this requires a degree of persuasion and influence. Contrary to popular belief, persuasion and influence take much more than just a ready smile, a big hand shake, and an outgoing personality.Influence and Persuasion

Robert Cialdini published a book in 1993 called, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, which discusses, investigates and proves the "weapons of influence." This book is a must read for anyone at your manufacturing company who is responsible for sales, marketing, or general business development.

These are the six weapons of influence:

  1. Reciprocity - This is the same idea as the Golden Rule. Treat people like you would like to be treated. More specifically, you get what (or if) you give. It is a deeply ingrained human predisposition to repay in kind when we are given some thing or another. One way the Manufacturing Marketer or Sales Person can apply this principle is a good content marketing program. Give away information that is valued by your target audience and watch your business growth soar.
  2. Liking - People are more influenced by those people they like. We like people similar to ourselves. Tactics to increase your likability are praising and pointing out similarities. Always be authentic in your praise. One way the Manufacturing Marketer can use this principle in sales and marketing materials is to use imagery and language that resonates with their target audience.
  3. Social Proof - Your customers and prospective customers are influenced by the ideas, actions, and statements made by or endorsed by the group to which they belong. If your target audience is made up of injection molding companies, all individuals who own or work at a similar company will feel they belong to a certain group. One example of applying this principle in practice is the tried and true customer testimonial.
  4. Authority - People who are viewed as experts can persuade and influence because of their perceived expertise. A Manufacturing Marketer could apply this principle by promoting an internal subject matter expert throughout the target audience as a problem solver or a solution provider to one problem that is common to a majority of the audience. It's always good to remember; expertise = credibility = premium pricing.
  5. Consistency - The idea behind the principle of consistency is that people will, more often than not, want to remain consistent with their stated or written opinions, values or commitments. If you want to influence your customers, prospects, colleagues, subordinates, or your boss, getting them to state a position out loud is a powerful form of persuasion. Even more powerful is getting them to write it down and share it with other colleagues. How could you utilize this principle in your 2018 Marketing plan? Get your critical stakeholders to contribute and physically sign off on your marketing plan.
  6. Scarcity - It is human nature to want what one cannot have or want more when we can only have less. Many studies prove this as true. Consider the quest to buy the elusive and popular video game during the Christmas shopping season as an example. Scarcity goes hand-in-hand with promoting your unique selling position or differentiated value proposition. An exclusive and limited available offer is much more compelling than a discounted price offer.

Those are the six weapons of persuasion guaranteed to increase your influence. These are not new. In fact, these principles have been documented and discussed as far back as the ancient days of the Greeks and Romans. One major goal (maybe the only goal) of marketing is to influence the target audience to choose your particular product or service. Use these weapons of persuasion to sell more product!

Keep the principles in mind as you develop your 2018 marketing strategy and tactics. What's that you say? Haven't you started your 2018 plans? No worries, check out this handy guide to creating or reviewing your marketing plan.

The last and most important point about the 6 Principles is to apply them with authenticity. There's nothing any of us hate more than to feel manipulated. Be genuine as you deploy these six principles of persuasion.

Marketing Plan template for manufacturing
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